Excessive drinking can lead to an assortment of mental and physical ailments. The NHS refers to alcohol being a powerful chemical which can have a wide range of adverse effects on almost every part of the body – including your brain, bones, and hear.
Therefore, detoxing can be quite challenging, this can be due to simply withdrawing or the lasting aftereffects of alcohol such as poor mental health.
Abusing alcohol can lead to multiple short-term and long-term problems, not just physical or mental. Extreme drinking can have severe consequences to your relationships, job, and finances.
Moreover, drinking can increase the likelihood of risky behaviours which can lead to accidents, injuries, violent and antisocial behaviour, loss of possessions, and unsafe sexual activity.
What is an Alcohol Detox?
An alcohol detox is when you stop drinking or reduce your alcohol consumption to flush your body clear of toxins. Detoxing is
necessary if you want to recover from alcohol abuse and it is the initial step to help you regain control of your life.
As heavy drinking causes chemical imbalances in the brain, withdrawal symptoms occur and are the body’s way of telling you it needs the substance to restore what has become a new chemical normal. The goal of detoxing is not to have significant alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
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Types of Alcohol Detox
There are two main routes which a person can take to detox from alcohol abuse. Due to potential risks we would always recommend speaking to a local GP or weighing up the pros and cons by speaking to a rehabilitation specialists such as ourselves at Action Rehab.
It is possible detox at home however it can be dangerous. We would advise you to discuss with a GP how undergo an alcohol detox without medical assistance. If any potentially life-threatening side effects happen, you need to be aware that you will relying on public healthcare and ambulances to get to you in time.
It is important that you have people around you to support you throughout this time as withdrawal symptoms can lead to relapsing.
Additionally, its essential that those who can support you understand the detox process themselves and can provide or create a safe alcohol-free environment. The more equip you are the better you will be during the alcohol detox.
You can start initially by creating a drinks diary to understand the severity of substance misuse. The more you know regarding how many units you consume a day the better.
There are tricks you can do to slowly reduce your intake of alcohol such as a loved one taking care of your alcohol for you and measuring drinks for you, mixing your drinks with water or alternating your drinks – you drink one alcoholic beverage, then switch to a non-alcoholic drink. 
If you do you chose to detox at home, it is vital you’re eating well. Wholemeal foods contain vitamin B1, which help increase Thiamine levels in your body – helping you turn food into energy and keep your nervous system healthy.
Moreover, drinks and foods you should avoid during your detox is high sugar food, caffeine and energy drinks as these can causes sleep problems  which can make your experience worse.
While you detox at home it’s vital to recognise severe withdrawal symptoms such as shaking or trembling, having hallucinations, or having fits/seizures. If these occur you need to seek urgent medical attention.
Detoxing at home can increase your stress levels and decrease the chances of detoxing effectively due to the extra preparation you need to do.
If you’re looking for an easier way – drug and alcohol rehab is the better option.
Detoxing at a Private Drug and Alcohol Rehab
At a private drug and alcohol rehab – where you stay throughout the whole treatment process and can be upwards of 28 days, an alcohol detox is monitored by medical professionals to ensure your withdrawal process is as comfortable as possible.
Beforehand you will be given an initial assessment to determine your overall health, whether you have any other underlying medical conditions, mental health issues, and discuss the detox process with your specialist.
Assessing any underlying mental health conditions means our staff can ensure that your detox from alcohol does not have a significant and negative impact on your mental health.
If the medical team or specialist on-site staff see you are uncomfortable or note any severe withdrawal symptoms, they may provide an assortment of medication to relieve these side effects such as Benzodiazepines, Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram.
These drugs can help either calm your nervous system, reduce cravings, help your brain begin to function normally, and produce horrible reactions if you consume alcohol. Depending on the drug and alcohol rehab, the medically assisted detox drugs can vary.
Due to staying at the facility food and other potential stressors i.e., alcohol are taken care of or removed to ensure your safety and to allow you to reach your goal – sobriety.
Alongside your alcohol detox, regular one-to-one counselling such as cognitive behavioural therapy and even group therapy sessions are advised to help you cope with your long-term alcohol cravings.
At Action Rehab we can help find and refer to you a rehabilitation centre near your home or further away so you can start your recovery journey.
Withdrawal Symptoms: Timeline
When your blood alcohol levels drop many different symptoms can arise some mild and quick, others can be more serious and continue for hours. These arise because your central nervous system has been dependent on alcohol for an extended period.
Each person will react differently to withdrawing from alcohol hence completion times can vary. On average a person successfully detoxes from alcohol within 10 days depending on medical necessities.
It is crucial to know that detoxing is only the beginning of the recovery process and more work addiction specialists will be needed to understand your addiction to alcohol.
Below we break down the withdrawal process and symptoms which can arise.
During the first 24 hours, you will likely experience mild symptoms such as:
- Mild Anxiety
- Stomach Upset
This is perfectly normal. These symptoms are signs that the body is trying to recover and cope with excessive alcohol intake.
Day 2 -3
Your withdrawal symptoms are more uncomfortable, and you can begin to experience side effects such as:
- Small Tremors
- Feeling Depressed
- Panic Attacks
- Feelings of Anger
- Raised Body Temperature
Withdrawal symptoms have peaked during this period, and this is where, if needed medical assistance will intervene.
Days 4 – 10
Your uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms should begin to subside, but you may still have alcohol cravings. Any side effects may be eradicated by day 7, however your experience of an alcohol detox will be different from that of someone else.
During your alcohol detox and for the remainder of your time at residential drug and alcohol rehab, addiction specialist will keep a close and caring eye on you to ensure you are comfortable – this would not be the case if you detoxed at home.
At drug and alcohol rehab centres they incorporate a healthy nutritional plan alongside a detox and addiction therapy, so your brain and body gets the proper nutrients needed which are essential for recovery.
What is Delirium Tremens?
During an alcohol detox, you may experience Delirium Tremens- a symptom of severe ethanol withdrawal…which can progress to cardiovascular collapse.  You should seek medical advice if delirium tremens occurs if you detox at home. We highly advice you don’t.
Delirium Tremens (DTs) is where brain becomes confused and does not know how bring stability to the brain and body. The brain and central nervous system struggle to function correctly and can result in physiological symptoms associated with anxiety and fear.
These symptoms mimic those of patients with acute brain injury or severe traumatic brain injury.  You should seek immediate help if you or someone you love is suffering from delirium tremens.
At a residential rehab facility if DT were to arise this would be handled on-site with medical professionals who are able to act quickly to ensure no loss of life.
The symptoms of delirium tremens:
- Vivid Nightmares
- Increased Heartrate
- Irrational Thoughts & Behaviour
- Profound Confusion
- Fluctuating Temperature
If you have used alcohol excessively for over 10 years, it is more likely you will suffers with DTs  and we highly recommend you seek medical treatment before undergoing an alcohol detox.
If you attend and complete comprehensive addiction treatment at a residential drug and alcohol rehab you will be given 12 months free after. This includes weekly catch-up sessions to help you remain on track and information for local help once you return home.
The first 12 months of sobriety can be the hardest and it is during this time you are more likely to relapse. Our affiliated rehabs all offer aftercare as a relapse prevention method to help you achieve success and live a life free from alcohol addiction.
We want to see you succeed in your future substance free life.
Help With Action Rehab
If you feel as if your alcohol intake is taking disproportionate, we are here to help. At Action Rehab, we have an excellent friend and family referral and self-referral service to start the recovery journey.
Our team can help you find the best addiction treatment options suited to your needs.
Get in touch with us on 0151 268 6992, for help support and be referred to a clinic that can help you get back on track via an alcohol detox programme before your alcohol consumption becomes life-threatening.
If you’re looking for a local group to build your support network and learn more about other people’s experiences, or share your own to inspire others you can find your local Alcoholic Anonymous meeting here
Although the majority of addicts can detox from alcohol with only mild withdrawal symptoms being experienced, there are some cases that can become very severe and even life threatening
Delirium Tremens is a serious condition that can be developed from withdrawal and can result in the risk of developing heart attacks, seizures, strokes, feelings of disorientation and confusion.